Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It Takes a Village (and a few margaritas)

A few nights ago, I met a group of mothers for a much needed round of drinks while we waited for our kids to finish rehearsal. Our 'drama mom community' has had an unusually high rate of life stresses lately, experiencing everything from brain tumors to husbands with cancer to parents passing away, so in between dealing with sleep-deprived teenagers and organizing meals for the families in crisis, we decided we needed a bit of R&R. Since jetting off to Aruba wasn't an option, we picked the next best thing - the bar at the local mexican restaurant.

It was a much-needed reminder for me, at least, of how beautifully women connect. Not all the moms knew each other, but after a few minutes of introductory small talk, we got right into the important stuff - opening up about how stressful it's been, comforting the moms who'd lost parents, talking about medical histories, and sharing our fears and concerns about our friends going through surgery and chemo. But in between the heavy moments, we also commiserated about perimenopause, made fun of our husbands and ex-husbands, and told embarrassing anecdotes about our kids. (I thought I'd struck comedy gold with the story of how I spent the weekend helping my younger son needlepoint the Guatemalan flag - don't ask - but one friend topped us all by relating a particularly bad argument about leaving shoes out with her 11-year-old, where the mom eventually threw the shoes . . "Not intentionally at her, and besides only one shoe actually hit her!")

We laughed, cried, and all split one more margarita (between middle-aged bladders, sleep-deprivation and lowered alcohol tolerance, a drink and a quarter each was all we could handle!) And I was reminded of that scene in Steel Magnolias at Shelby's funeral, where the women bond through tears and then laughter. Men may have a number of advantages over us, ranging from higher earnings to no lines in public restrooms, but they don't provide each other the same kind of village. So here's to all the mom communities we form, to all the women who help each other out, and to the healing power of a margarita!